The Jesus Prayer
The ancient desert prayer that tunes the heart to God *
The Jesus Prayer has been treasured in the Christian East ever since its birth in the desert, more than 1,500 years ago. There have been periods when the Jesus Prayer was very popular, and other times when it was not much practiced; at some points, it seemed as if only a few monks on Mt. Athos, the renowned center of Orthodox spirituality in northern Greece, were keeping the practice alive. But because the Jesus Prayer is so simple, it’s accessible to anyone, lay or ordained, educated or illiterate. Over the centuries, uncountable numbers of believers have come to know God’s constant nearness by practicing this fluid, continual remembrance of Jesus’ name.
At first the Jesus Prayer is just a string of words repeated, perhaps mechanically, in your mind. But with time it may “descend into the heart,” and those who experience this will be attentive to maintain it, continually “bringing the mind into the heart.”
“Prayer of the heart” occurs when the Jesus Prayer moves from merely mental repitition, forced along by your own effort, to an effortless and spontaneous self-repitition of the Prayer that emanates from the core of your being, your heart. You will discover that the Holy Spirit has been there, praying, all along. Then heart and soul, body and mind, memory and will, the very breath of life itself, everything that you have and are unites in gratitude and joy, tuned like a violin string to the name of Jesus *
* Excerpt from Frederica Matthews-Green “The Jesus Prayer : the ancient prayer that tunes the heart to God”
Listen to a podcast of Frederica introducing her book by clicking here